German police drag anti-coal activists during standoff outside Economy Ministry in Berlin (VIDEO)
Germany’s police have violently dispersed a group of climate activists, who staged a sit-in near the Economy Ministry office in Berlin. The demonstrators were protesting against a compromise on the phase-out of coal-fired power.
Footage taken by Ruptly video news agency shows officers in riot gear violently grabbing people sitting on the ground and dragging them to a police van. The demonstrators are also seen scuffling with officers, who sought to disperse a crowd of youth holding a large banner and blocking a street near the ministry building.
The rally, which was staged in Berlin on Friday, was organized by activist group ‘Ende Gelaende’ which opposes a recently presented compromise plan on the phase-out of coal-fired power. Developed by the so-called coal commission, a body consisting of industrialists, politicians and NGO members, the plan would see Germany ending the use of coal-fired energy by 2038. The climate activists believe the delay is too long and are calling for an end to coal-fired power use immediately.
The protesters called the commission’s proposal a “punch in the face” for all the people living in the global South as well as those seeking a better future. Instead of providing a better future for everyone, the phase-out only provides a lot of money for the few, the group’s spokeswoman said, adding that the activists would take the matter into their own hands and “put up resistance” everywhere from coal mines to the places where political decisions are made.
Similar rallies were staged on Friday in the German cities of Potsdam, Hamburg, Bremen and Bielefeld. Another protest was held on Saturday in Karlsruhe, where the activists blocked a road leading to a local power plant.
Following Berlin’s decision to phase out nuclear power in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan, Germany had to heavily rely on coal for its power generation. Coal is estimated to have provided more than 30 percent of Germany’s power in 2017.
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